Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summary of feedback

Now it’s also time to give little feedback summary for you to see also. First: practical details seemed to all right, everyone liked our house and even more the food. Some people didn’t like mosquitoes so much :) Programme was generally considered balanced, but we were sometimes short on free time. Actually we knew it will be like that and it was planned to be intensive seminar. If we could, we would have made it for eight days or so, but unfortunately that was not possible this time. Group building went well, non-formal learning session was useful and Youth in Action quiz was little bit long (but competitive!), but from your comments we see that it served its purpose. Intercultural groups and rooms were little bit difficult at the beginning, but brought good results in the end. We had too few time for 8 key competences, but there never seems to be enough if people are committed to solving tandem puzzle. Problem is, if it would be longer, everyone would get very tired, and well, shorter it cannot be anyway as we saw. Learning buddies and learning reflection was a new concept for many. However we see it as essential part to develop oneself as learner. Believe me; it took some seven years for me before I fully understand why I should set learning goals and try to reflect from time to time. First three youth exchanges I did I had no clue, what could I learn from it. It all came later :).

Intercultural learning session was seen fun (greetings part) and useful (iceberg part). World cafe part was most complicated one. So many different questions and always the question “Why – not for the application - but why really? What is behind there?” Hopefully more questions raised than were answered. Sorry if me, Kaisa or Anna scared someone (we just tried to help :)).

Seeing Estonian school was appreciated (thank you Silva!) and radio interviews were really cool.

Most of people enjoyed visit to Alaveski, hope us bear-friends are doing well. Let us not forget, that if it wasn’t this park, most of animals living there would be dead.

Last day was the busiest one. Financial calculations part was overall the most highly rated part of the seminar (surprise for us). Also personal and group idea development was successful. Five people are 100 % sure of submitting a youth exchange for 1st October deadline. Seven people are 80 % sure of submitting youth exchange for 1st October deadline. Seven people are 60 % sure of submitting youth exchange for 1st October deadline (main obstacles are connected to future plans: for example if people get in to university or if they have time. Some pointed out that if they don’t manage for 1st October, they will submit for 1st February). Two persons said that they would apply 20 % sure as one would do it probably 1st February and second need to find people together with whom to do it. One person will not apply for 1st October, but will be partner and two people will not apply for 1st October as one wants to make project in summer (will apply for 1st February) and second will make the youth exchange, but in 2013.

What you pointed out is needed to put these ideas to practice:

-          More support from local national agency in country of origin

-          Support from trainers

-          Practical information

-          Advice

-          Keep in touch with organizers, get contacts

-          Information about application forms, rules

-          Experienced person to help

-          Information about non-formal methods

-          Advice on filled in application and feedback

-          Examples of youth exchanges

-         Go abroad with other youth leaders (from same area) to exchange experiences and work together

-          Answers to questions

-          Financial solutions

-          Contacts, reliable partners

-          With project idea implementation

-          Help with defining the project objectives

Generally, I am really satisfied with the results. I think many new ideas rose and I hope the spirit I saw in Vidrike will go on. I have seen few projects with participants so motivated and eager to really do something – something great!  On Monday we will meet with Estonian participants to see what has happened to their ideas. Although we cannot meet our friends outside Estonia now, we still be connected in our group in facebook and all questions are always welcome. We will continue posting on the blog, and answering the questions and we hope that you will do the same. Imagine the day then your good idea is going into practice, you are waiting in airport, with a sign in your hand and soon all the participants for your youth exchange will arrive. And then it begins... :)

Now, it’s 21st June, so I would ask you to open up your Explorer’s Diaries and turn to the last page, to the last question... what did you get from this seminar?


Summary of feedback: 1 (middle) - lowest, 10 (outside) - highest

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Developing the Ideas

Even if we all wished to have more days in Vidrike, this is the last day of the project. Today is probably the busiest day because besides the final activities and evaluation we also have to pack!!! And this takes a lot of time, especially for girls.

One of the most productive activity today, which began two days ago when we began thinking of project ideas, was splitting into groups of people having the same or similar ideas. There was a lot of work, and everyone got so worked up with writing and designing their project.
Some of these project ideas were about unemployment, healthy lifestyle and eco farming, historical and cultural awareness, tolerance and multiculturalism and self motivation through art.
And last but not least, a very original idea for a youth exchange taken literally – that would create a new nation -> Estonokkia
Our last official activity consisted in meeting our secret friend(s)
and having a fabulous photo:
Hope to meet you all in the future and share our projects!


Today we started our morning with the most delicious part of the seminar - the BUDGET! The best start for the fourth morning, when head is still buzzing from the trip day before and from the saunanight before that. Yeahh.. these numbers... We loved them!  Even though they were dancing before the eyes and wanted to play tricks on us, we managed to get them in order and perfect budgets for future youth exchanges were made.

During the morning session we were also attacked by the really sneaky quiz, that made us wearing red, counting the stairs and running around the house. All that effort with jumping and going mad about the answers was totally pointless because we only had to answer the very last question and none of the others. So much about our attention...

We also started the most important and the most difficult task - developing our own projects - but as we were tired (the cause remains to be a mystery), lunch felt like a savior for us.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Visit to Tsirguliina School, Alaveski wild animal park and Karula national park

The day started with some fun activities, which were mentioned in the previous post. 
Of course, there were many mosquitos as always. 
And some bees too.

We felt energized and had many great and innovative ideas after the morning program.

Then we took a bus to Tsirguliina High School.

They introduced us the schoolhouse...

...and showed us how the school radio works.

Then we headed to a nature park where we could see many different animals from the Estonian nature, like bears and owls. Everybody definitely loved to see a mother bear feeding its babies and a little weasle staring right at us.

Of course, we did some crazy pictures, too...

And some weird stork/yoga postions... 

Then we went to see the Estonian forests from a bit higher place... we visited a tower from where we could see the nature in an amazing way.

Intercultural learning and world cafe

The 3-th day  started with a energizer game;"GIVE ME A SMILE!"It was funny time!

The winner was Maria!!!!!!She focused very well!!!

After we started to talk about cultural diversity.For a better understanding we played a game:Say" Hello!" in many languages.

Divided into teams we discussed about the imnpact of a youth exchange,what multiplaying effects it can have and we offered few examples.Each team had a leader who helped us to get new ideas.Anna, from Estonian National Agency  come and helped us to understand better how can we have to develop a succesful youth exchange.

And here...lisen!!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Developing our ideas and checking out Youthpass!

After lunch we finished quiz and got to know some more information about other Youth in Action opportunities. For example under 3.2 call you can make projects with Africa and Asia. And youth initiative gives chance to do thigs locally, without foreign partners. We also read some examples of youth exchange projects already done. Winner got white Estonian chocolate with blueberries... yammy :)

After that it was time for us to work individually. Each one of us could develop his/her idea, and later we shared them in small groups. It was good as we could do it were we liked - outside the sun was shining spendidly. 

Last part before dinner was connected to eight key competences and Youthpass. We took flights to different planets and found out what are these key competences about. We learned to play card games in "learning to learn", we made a collage in "cutural awarness and expression" and we tried to solve a tandem puzzzle in "mathematical competence" and discovered many ohter useful competences. After that we discussed the competences in cycle and got a new task: now we had to discuss our learning in this seminar in the framework of 8 key competences and write it down in our "Explorer's diary". If it would be a youth exchange, we would get in the end Youthpass with all our learning inside it. Unforutnately Youthpass is not yet available for partnership building activities. 

In the evening it was time for sauna! We went to sauna, had some beers and played jolly games. Evening well spent!

Youth in Action Quiz

 Our day started with an ice-breaking game, later we had more. We all were standing in a circle and we were counted to two teams and we had to pass on a pillow.  So after the game, the main thing in the first part of the day was the quiz. The quiz was about Youth in Action. We were separated into teams and we had to answer questions about specific information of Youth in Action. Heleri did a very good job by explaining all the answers.  The quiz was very informative and the winner team got a chocolate(nom-nom-nom).

We also wanted to give some information about Vidrike - the place we are staying at. It is near Otepää in South-Estonia. The house is really nice and it has a perfect view to the lake. We usually spend our spare time on the terrace, enjoying the countryside and the nature. Here we have some photos:



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mission @ Otepää and diversity night

We had an Otepää trip. It was very nice, we were driven by the bus to the city. Cyprus was late, as usual. =) In Otepää we had different tasks to fulfill. We had to find out some information about Otepää, its inhabitants and events and also we had to share some information about Youth in Action and our Seminar. For example we had to find out names of famous people from there, some events like Cross Country Championship. Most of the information we found out at the information center, where all groups met, but then we were spreading around for tasks like to make a crazy photo or to find the youth club of Otepää. Unfortunately it was closed. So in the end we found ourselves climbing on a tree, watching motorbike sessions, eating typical Estonian ice cream, drinking typical Estonian beer, learning about the history of Estonia. We saw the church of Otepää and a really big swing. We also got in contact with local youngsters, when we were asking them for their email - addresses to send them information about projects with youth. Generally we finished our tasks very fast and we had time to explore the city ourselves.

We got back to Vidrike at 17.30, were compared our results and how we felt with our teamwork. We were introducing our learning buddies. This means, that everybody has one person, with whom he is speaking each day about what the two of them learned and what problems they faced. The first point, a lot of people talked about, was their English. A lot of us want to improve their English and we want to learn about Youth in Action program and how to develop good ideas for projects.We want to get to know to the process of developing a good project from preparation until follow-up and how to make the best out of it. So at this day, we shared with our learning buddies, what we want to learn and the first experiences we made.

After this we were introduced to our feedback groups. Every group has one facilitator who leads the feed back about each day concerning daily program, group etc.

In the evening we got to know more about each others countries. Everyone had brought some sweets, drinks and other stuff whit them, so we could get to know more about Europe and more about each others countries.
We had some funny and interesting videos about Romania and Slovakia, saw an traditional costume from Romania, an interesting presentation about Portugal, we learned a traditional dance from Cyprus and in the end of the evening we watched together the Eurovision Song Contest.

In the evening and the early morning we had an amazing view at the lake, which is in front of our accomodation.

We are all really amazed by the first day, our accomodation, the food and especially about the amount of mosquitos. =)